How to Make Sure Your Dog is Getting Enough Exercise

How to Make Sure Your Dog is Getting Enough Exercise

Going for a walk, playing fetch, splashing around in the water: all pastimes dogs are known to enjoy. They’re also some activities you could enjoy together in April, which is National Canine Fitness Month. The celebration was created to encourage dog parents to exercise with their dogs and bond through this activity, as well as to bring awareness to fun exercise options. How can you make sure your pup is getting enough exercise, and what are some signs that she isn’t? Read on to learn more!

How Much Exercise Does Your Dog Need?

The amount of exercise your dog needs is dependent upon several factors, including their breed, health, and age. Certain breeds, especially those with a history of being working dogs, will need to head out for a brisk walk more than others. Then there are some breeds that only need to take brief breaks from their couch potato existence. As dogs get older or develop health problems, they may not be able to keep pace with what they used to do, but they will still need some exercise, often more tailored to them. In that case, be sure to ask your vet about their recommendations

Energetic Breeds

Which breeds will be ready for you to leash them up and head out for adventure more often? Dogs that were bred to work. That includes livestock herders, like collies and Australian Shepherds; hunting dogs like retrievers, pointers, and spaniels; and other workers like German Shepherds. Additional breeds that require more exercise include American Staffordshire Terriers, Belgian Malinois, Dalmatians, and Doberman Pinschers.

Some of these dogs may need up to two hours of exercise per day. All will generally require more than an hour.

Lower-Energy Breeds

On the other side of the coin, there are breeds that are happy to avoid exercising much. Among them are some brachycephalic breeds like bulldogs, Boston Terriers, King Charles Cavalier Spaniels, Shih Tzus, and pugs. Despite being known for their speed, greyhounds don’t need long exercise sessions, either. Other breeds that are content with a short and sweet exercise routine include the chihuahua, Basset Hound, Dachshund, Havanese, and Maltese. There are also some big boys in this group: Saint Bernards, Bernese Mountain Dogs, and Newfoundlands.

These dogs shouldn’t need more than an hour of exercise each day. Some make do with as little as 30 minutes.

How Can You Tell Your Dog Isn’t Getting Enough Exercise?

Is your pup active enough? There are a few signs that they could use a little more exercise. One sure sign is that they’re putting on some weight. This could also be due to how much they’re eating, so you’ll want to examine both their physical activity and their meal size, and you should have a chat with your vet about how to get them safely to a healthy weight.

Another thing to watch out for is destructive behavior, which could be an outlet for pent up energy. Further signs include hyperactivity, being lethargic or depressed, rough play, leash pulling, attention seeking, and excessive barking or whining.

Exercises You Can Do With Your Dog

Before you do any exercises with your dog, it is important to keep their breed, health, and age in mind. If you’re unsure which exercises are best for your furry friend, be sure to ask your veterinarian. There are plenty of indoor and outdoor options for dogs in general, though!

Outdoor Activities

While a standard walk is good for nearly every dog, some may be able to do a bit more on the leash. That includes hiking, running, and even tagging along while you cycle. Certain dog breeds that love the water may also swim. You can bring toys out, too, with a good game of fetch with a ball, or even playing catch with a frisbee. Some dogs may even be up for playing soccer. When winter arrives, breeds that are fond of the cold may enjoy a good romp through the snow or chasing snowballs.

Indoor Activities

What if the weather outside is a little frightful, even for your snowy pooch? Some of those outdoor activities can be taken indoors. In a pinch, you can use a treadmill to walk your dog. You can also play fetch indoors, with some softer dog toys, if you’re worried about your less-than-great aim. You could even use some indoor items to create an obstacle course.

If you can find activities you both enjoy, even better! Plus, the exercise doesn’t just benefit your dog. If you head outside, nature is good for your mental health, and you could meet new friends, especially others with dogs. Your physical health is also benefitted from the activity!

Michelle Milliken

Michelle has a journalism degree and has spent more than seven years working in broadcast news. She's also been known to write some silly stuff for humor websites. When she's not writing, she's probably getting lost in nature, with a fully-stocked backpack, of course.

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